Goals, Resolutions and How To Keep Them

New years always feel like a fresh start. Perhaps that’s why so many people have a tradition of setting resolutions and goals at the beginning of the year. The good news is, if you’ve set goals or made resolutions, you’re already ahead of the curve. One study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology found that those who set New Year's resolutions are 10 times more likely to change their behavior than those who don’t. Whether you’re trying to get your wallet healthier, your body healthier or you want to chase a dream you’ve always had, we have some suggestions that may help you on your journey.

  1. Set boundaries. Keep the number of goals small to help you focus your efforts. If you set too many goals, it will be hard to manage progress on all of them. If you drop the ball on one or two, the frustration and emotional setback may drag down your motivation to keep pursuing others.
  2. Plan ahead. An airplane pilot doesn’t take off without knowing where they are going. If you jump right into the deep end of a new activity or hobby, you may lack direction. Don’t waste effort spinning your wheels. Planning out your goals will help you make sure any effort is more likely to produce results.
  3. Get a budget. Keep a budget. Your goals may require spending money, spending effort or both. Work out a budget of your overall finances. Make sure your bills and important expenses are covered before adding new costs to your budget. Make sure your budget includes your goals. Once you’ve got a budget, stick to it. Try the budgeting tools in BancorpSouth’s Online Banking to help you. Log in and look under the Spending tab in Online Banking.
  4. Break it down. Many people visualize where they want to be. But as the old saying goes, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Break down your goal into identifiable actions in order. Make a list of these actions to help reinforce them in your mind. You can also use it as a checklist to refresh your memory on the next actionable item on the list. Each step is a mini-goal. Focus on one step at a time.
  5. Get social support. Get a friend or family member you trust to share in your activities. They can help keep you accountable, cheer you on, and celebrate your victories. You are more likely to achieve more with moral support.
  6. Manage your time. Are you having trouble finding time to work on the goals you’ve set for yourself? The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has recommendations for finding time to work on personal goals. Monitor and record your activities for one week. Once you have them in a document or calendar, you can identify available time slots. Identify at least five 30-minute time slots you could use for each activity. Use reminder apps, alarms, or digital calendars on your smartphone to set appointments to help you slot activity into your day.

Adding a little structure to the way you approach your goals will help you achieve them!